Friday, June 22, 2012

Lost and Found......You Decide



Every work day in thousands of offices across the globe, Christians testify of God's grace in their lives in some way. Sometimes it comes through a subtle performance of their duties with a smile and peace that non-believers cannot understand. In other cases, there might be more visible, unexplainable examples of God's work. This was the defining difference in believers in the early Church. They lived a life that followed with signs and wonders that could not be humanly explained.

Can you think of anything more exciting than being a partner with Jesus Christ in populating heaven? He wants to use you. The question is, “Are you willing to be used?” He’s ready if you are.

If you want your children to talk to the lost about God, as a family you need to talk to God about the lost: an unbelieving neighbor, a relative, or even one of their own non-Christian classmates. As God answers those prayers, the impact is beyond measure.


  • John Denver's Opportunity Lost?

Bill Fay spoke to John Denver before his untimely death. His "Country Roads" was one of my favorites.

In the Scripture, God says He is always at work, and He expects us to be about His work daily, too.

One day in a frequent flyer room, I looked over and saw John Denver. It was pretty obvious with his distinct features and signature guitar that it was him.

I went over and said, "John!"

He jumped up, stuck out his hand and said, "I haven't seen you in a while."

I said, "No sir, we've never met. But I am a man who's prayed for you for over five years, and I have a message for you from your dead father, Dutch."

You see, years earlier, in the height of my pagan lifestyle, John Denver's father was the co-pilot on the Learjet that used to fly me around the country to do my illegal mob business.

His father -- whose hand I held when he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ -- made me promise that one day I would share with his son. I said, "Dutch, if God provides the moment, the privilege is mine."

Now it looked like the moment was going to come.

I met with John in a private room in the Denver airport for the better part of two hours. I took him line by line through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

There wasn't a single verse of Scripture he did not understand -- nor was there a single verse of Scripture that he would accept.

Finally, I said, "John, when did you make up your mind Jesus Christ would never become your Lord and your Savior?"

He could remember the date, the time and the place. A godly Sunday School teacher, like some of you, said to him Jesus Christ was The Way, The Truth and The Life.

I left with a saddened heart, tears in my eyes.

I asked God, "Why did You go to all this trouble if John Denver was not going to accept You?" And a verse of Scripture came into my heart that took evangelism to another level for me. I hope it will for you. It comes out of 2 Corinthians 2:16, and it says, "To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life."

The word "death" in Scripture means eternal separation from God.

Wherever you go, to whomever you speak, wherever you stand, you represent life and you represent death -- for you and them it will be either an opportunity, or an opportunity lost.

 
  • Sam Walton, Made in America: My Story

I read this book in 1994. I was actually presented this book by one of my colleagues. It is a good one. Worth reading. I never knew the strengths, opportunities and threats Sam Walton had faced before. Contrary to the prevailing practice of American discount store chains, Walton located stores in smaller towns, not larger cities. To make his model work, he emphasized logistics, particularly locating stores within a day's drive proximity to Wal-Mart's regional warehouses, and distributed through its own trucking service. Buying in volume and efficient delivery permitted sale of discounted name brand merchandise. Thus, sustained growth — from 1977's 190 stores to 1985's 800 — was achieved.

Take a moment and think about what matters most to you.

"Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’ What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?" —Ecclesiastes 1:2—3

There is a common refrain throughout the book of Ecclesiastes. The book begins and ends with the author declaring that “everything is meaningless.” But can that really be true? Is King Solomon saying that life is a meaningless accident? Can it be that he believes that there is no point to our limited time on this planet?

There is another phrase that repeats itself throughout Solomon’s writings. That term is “under the sun.” When Solomon talks about life under the sun, he is referring to the material, physical aspect of life. And in that respect, yes everything is meaningless! Everything physical is temporary and empty. “Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow” (Psalm 144:4).

But that’s life under the sun. There is also life beyond the sun, and that is something else altogether different. Life beyond the sun describes the spiritual part of life. The point that Solomon is trying to drive home is that ultimately, that’s the only part of life that really matters. Only the spirit lasts forever.

The Walton family is one of the wealthiest families in the world today. Sam Walton, the family’s patriarch, was the founder of Wal-Mart. Sam was more successful than anyone could have ever imagined, and so his final words before he left this world are very instructive. When Sam looked back on a lifetime of unprecedented material success, he had just three words to say. His last words were: “I blew it!”

By the world’s standards, Sam Walton had been one of the most successful individuals in the world. But by his own admission, he had failed. Like King Solomon, he wondered, “What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?” Sam had worked hard and made billions. But what good does that money do for him now?

The legacy of Sam Walton is that material success does not make a life worth living. If your goal is material, you are missing the whole point of life!

So what is the goal of life? Solomon sums it all up for us: “ … here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). The only achievements that last forever are spiritual. We are here to become better people and to help make the world a better place. The goal of life has nothing to do with what we have, and everything to do with who we are.

Life under the sun becomes meaningful only when we go beyond it.

  The purpose of challenges in our lives is to forge us into greater people. So embrace your trials and tribulations! It’s the gift of an opportunity for change.


 

  •  On Board the Titanic  Before she Sunk
For us, 100 years after the Titanic, may we be as zealous as Harper was with every opportunity to share Christ with the perishing. Pastor and preacher John Harper and his 6-year-old daughter were on board the Titanic on the way to Chicago where Harper was scheduled to preach at Moody Church, on the greatest churches in America.  Baptist Press says Moody Church was planning on calling him to be their next pastor.  As the ship hit the iceberg, Harper, a widower, led his daughter to a lifeboat.  Harper then ran from person-to-person, passionately telling others about Christ.  As the world remembers the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking, some are remembering Harper, who when a passenger rebuffed his message of salvation, gave him his own life jacket, saying you need this more than I do.  A Titanic survivor told his story of his encounter with Harper and told those in attendance at a survivor's gathering, "I am the last convert of John Harper." (1)


In the Picture: John Harper and his Daughter

Remember:
We bring Christ to the lost
He brings the lost to Christ
               
– John 6:44 – we bring Christ to the lost – He brings the lost to Christ
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…”

Somehow, in the matter that matters the most, our eternal destiny, people say, “Well, it just doesn’t matter what you believe. All roads lead to heaven.” No they do not. There is one gospel, and it is the gospel of the grace of God.

How are we saved? “For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves.” (Ephesians 2:8). You can’t buy it, borrow it, steal it, or earn it. It is grace of God and it was bought by Christ on the cross. Friend, when He finished, it was accomplished and you cannot deplete it or add to it-it is the supernatural work of God.

Salvation is not a creed. You’re not saved by the plan of salvation; you’re saved by the man of salvation. It’s not a cause or a church. It’s Christ. We have so much religious mayhem in the world today because people have met creeds, not Christ. They’ve entered into codes of living, but not Christ. They join churches without meeting Christ. Salvation is not believing something, it is receiving Someone.

Acts 4:10-12 says: “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Jesus is not just a good way to heaven; He’s the only way to heaven.
The Lord Jesus said to his apostles "You go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized  will be saved; but he who disbelieves will be damned". Mark 16:15-16,

In obedience to this command the apostle Peter told convicted believers "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.   For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."  Acts 2:37-39

I remember how my 9 year old son Ashwin Asher decided to get immersed in water and get baptized. He was one  among a few that went to witness a Baptism of a few grown up kids. He suddenly asked the Pastor that he is willing to get baptized. So up in the small river he decided that day to make a major decision in his life. There was nobody who asked him ,nor any discussion in the small group that would influence his decision. He was a brave kid and decided that he would live for Jesus Christ as his  Lord and savior. He decided and he gave the nod. No matter how young or old, intelligent or mentally handicapped a person might be, if he or she is conscious of having sinned, believes that Jesus, the son of God, died for them and has repented of their sins, there is no one who has the right to deny them baptism (immersion in water) for the forgiveness of their sins. Saying the sinner's prayer is simply a way of declaring to God that you are relying on Jesus Christ as your Savior. There are no "magical" words that result in salvation. It is only faith in Jesus' death and resurrection that can save us. If you understand that you are a sinner and in need of salvation through Jesus Christ, here is a sinner's prayer you can pray to God: "God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen!"

Jesus is the only way of salvation because He is the only One who can pay our sin penalty (Romans 6:23). No other religion teaches the depth or seriousness of sin and its consequences. No other religion offers the infinite payment of sin that only Jesus Christ could provide. No other “religious founder” was God become man (John 1:1,14) – the only way an infinite debt could be paid. Jesus had to be God so that He could pay our debt. Jesus had to be man so He could die. Salvation is available only through faith in Jesus Christ! “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju



 References:

(1) http://www.fln.org/fln-news/article/pastor-preached-as-titanic-sank/


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